Laying Down Our LivesWhat sometimes holds you back from laying down your life for others?
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SUNDAY, JANUARY 1
A Better Song
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives (v.25). In Greek mythology, the island of Sirens was where beautiful temptresses ensnared passing sailors with their sweet songs. The music led the men to the shore where they were shipwrecked and destroyed. Odysseus ordered his men to plug their ears with beeswax, but being curious and to avoid being tempted, he instructed them to bind him to the mast. Upon hearing the song of the Sirens, Odysseus commanded his crew to release him, but they refused and bound him tighter. Jason of the Argonauts, on the other hand, hired a skilled musician to play a tune as his ship sailed within earshot of Sirens. His boat floated by with the crew unaffected by the alluring tunes.
They enjoyed a better song.
Although millions around the world have made resolutions to “change their tune” in the New Year, it won’t take long for old habits to return. Perhaps, like Odysseus, you’ve tried to escape “anything that stimulates youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). True freedom from bad habits, however, can never be won by binding willpower and through determination alone. The apostle Paul reminds us that freedom from one pleasure can only come as we pursue greater pleasures: “righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace” (Galatians 5:22).
Paul reminds us to “let the Holy Spirit guide [our] lives. Then [we] won’t be doing what [our] sinful nature craves” (v.16). The bad habits that held us back last year will continue to slow us down this year unless we follow the “better song” of the Holy Spirit (vv.22-23). As followers of Jesus, we’ve “nailed the passions and desires of [our] sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (vv.24-25). By the Spirit’s power, we can make beautiful music for Christ! —Ruth O’Reilly-Smith
Read Romans 8:14 to see what it means to be led by “the Spirit of God.”
Are you frustrated at your inability to walk free from addictions and other things that keep tripping you up? What will happen if you grow in your love for God and submit to the Spirit’s leading?
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